Online Holiday Shopping: Tips for Keeping Your Information Secure

Online sales are expected to be significant again this year.

How can you maximize your transaction security? If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t get blindsided by the lure of great discounts – the security of your information is what’s most important. If you aren’t prepared and cautious, you could become the next cyber crime victim, the cost of which could far exceed any savings you might have received from the retailer.

When purchasing online this holiday season – and all year long – keep these tips in mind to help minimize your risk:

  1. Secure your mobile device and computer. Be sure to keep the operating system and application software updated/patched on all of your computers and mobile devices. Be sure to check that your anti-virus/anti-spyware software is running and receiving automatic updates. Confirm that your firewall is enabled.
  2. Use passwords. It’s one of the simplest and most important steps to take in securing your devices, computers and accounts. If you need to create an account with the merchant, be sure to use a strong password. Always use more than ten characters, with numbers, special characters, and upper and lower case letters. Use a unique password for every unique site.
  3. Do not use public computers or public wireless for your online shopping. Public computers may contain malicious software that steals your credit card information when you place your order. Additionally, criminals may be intercepting traffic on public wireless networks to steal credit card numbers and other confidential information.
  4. Pay by credit card, not debit card. A safer way to shop on the Internet is to pay with a credit card rather than debit card. Debit cards do not have the same consumer protections as credit cards. Credit cards are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act and may limit your liability if your information was used improperly. Check your statements regularly.
  5. Know your online shopping merchants. Limit your online shopping to merchants you know and trust. If you have questions about a merchant, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission. Confirm the online seller’s physical address, where available, and phone number in case you have questions or problems.
  6. Look for “https” when making an online purchase. The “s” in “https” stands for “secure” and indicates that communication with the webpage is encrypted.
  7. Do not respond to pop-ups. When a window pops up promising you cash or gift cards for answering a question or taking a survey, close it by pressing Control + F4 for Windows and Command + W for Macs.
  8. Do not click on links or open attachments in emails from financial institutions/vendors. Be cautious about all emails you receive even those from legitimate organizations, including your favorite retailers. The emails could be spoofed and contain malware. Instead, contact the source directly.
  9. Do not auto-save your personal information. When purchasing online, you may be given the option to save your personal information online for future use. Consider if the convenience is really worth the risk. The convenience of not having to reenter the information is insignificant compared to the significant amount of time you’ll spend trying to repair the loss of your stolen personal information.
  10. Use common sense to avoid scams. Don’t ever give your financial information or personal information via email or text. Information on many current scams can be found on the website of the Internet Crime Complaint Center: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
  11. Review privacy policies. Review the privacy policy for the website/merchant you are visiting. Know what information the merchant is collecting about you, how it will be stored, how it will be used, and if it will be shared with others.
  12. Join MS-ISAC’s Twitter Chat. Join the Center for Internet Security (@CISecurity) and Sophos (@Sophos_news) on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST for a Twitter Chat with more tips for staying safe online this holiday season.  Use #ChatCyberMon to join us!

What to do if you encounter problems with an online shopping site?
Contact the seller or the site operator directly to resolve any issues. You may also contact the following:

The Federal Trade Commission – http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

Fraud Alert: Watch Out for Black Friday Scams

It’s almost the Hap-hap-happiest time of year, but that doesn’t mean we should be relaxed in protecting our accounts. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest on-line shopping days. Here’s a few tips for watching out for the fraudsters: 

  1. Too-good-to-be-true coupons: these are coupons that offer free phones or tablets on sites all over the Internet. Don’t fall for it. Make sure the offers are from a legitimate company.
  2. Watch out for alerts via email or text that you just received a package from FedEx, UPS or the US Mail, and then asks you for some personal information. Don’t enter anything. Think Before You Click!
  3. There is also a fake refund scam going on that could appear to come from Amazon, a hotel, or a retail chain. It claims there was a “wrong transaction” and wants you to “click for refund” but instead, your device will be infected with malware.
  4. Be super-wary of bulk email with BUY NOW offers or anything that looks slightly “off”.

If you think you might have been scammed, stay calm and call your credit card company or bank. Getting a new card might be a little inconvenient, but it’s a small price to pay for a little more safety.

Fictitious Correspondence Regarding the Release of Funds Supposedly Under the Control of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Fictitious correspondence, allegedly issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regarding funds purportedly under the control of the OCC and possibly other government entities, is in circulation. Correspondence may be distributed via e-mail, fax, or postal mail.

Any document claiming that the OCC is involved in holding any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity is fraudulent. The OCC does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities.

The correspondence may indicate that funds are being held by a specific financial institution and that the recipient will be required to pay an “approval fee” before the Federal Reserve Wire Network will release the funds to the beneficiary.

Attached is a copy of the “Interim Stop Order” document. E-mails being sent in regard to this scam appear to be sent from officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the United States Department of Financial Institutions, but they are not. E-mail addresses utilized in the electronic correspondence may be from [morgjamesin@yahoo.com] or [usdepartmentfinance@yahoo.com]. This material is being sent to consumers in an attempt to elicit funds from them and to gather personal information to be used in possible future identification theft.

Before responding in any manner to any proposal supposedly issued by the OCC that requests personal information or personal account information or that requires the payment of any fee in connection with the proposal, recipients should take steps to verify that the proposal is legitimate. At a minimum, the OCC recommends that consumers

  • Contact the OCC directly to verify the legitimacy of the proposal (1) via e-mail at occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov; (2) by mail to the OCC’s Special Supervision Division, 400 7th St. SW, Suite 3E-218, MS 8E-12, Washington, DC 20219; (3) via fax to (571) 293-4925; or (4) by calling the Special Supervision Division at (202) 649-6450.
  • Contact state or local law enforcement.
  • File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov if the proposal appears to be fraudulent and was received via e-mail or the Internet.
  • File a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by telephone at (888) 877-7644; by mail at U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of Inspector General, Operations Support Group, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100; or via the online complaint form at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx, if the proposal appears to be fraudulent and was delivered through the U.S. Postal Service.

Any information regarding the subject of this or any other alert that you wish to bring to the attention of the OCC may be sent to occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov.

For more information please visit http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/alerts/2014/alert-2014-33.html

What Can I Do to Secure My Mobile Device?

The volume of cyber threats to mobile computing devices continues to increase as new applications and devices proliferate. McAfee reports that there were more than two million new mobile malware samples in 2013. Symantec reports that nearly 40% of mobile device users have experienced mobile cyber crime in the past 12 months. Some experts estimate that nearly 10% of applications sold on particular platforms are malicious. Most mobile malware gets installed when a user visits an infected website or downloads a malicious application, or clicks on a link or an attachment.

How can you protect yourself? Here’are some helpful tips for keeping the information on your mobile device safe.

  1. Lock the device
    An easy way for malware to get on a device is for someone to manually install it. Locking your device with a strong PIN/password makes unauthorized installation of applications more difficult.
  2. Install applications from trusted sources
    Users must recognize that some applications may be malicious. If an app is requesting more permissions than seems necessary, do not install it, or uninstall the application. Only install applications from trusted sources.
  3. Don’t jailbreak your device
    To “jailbreak” or to “root” a device means to bypass important controls and gain full access to the operating system. Doing this will usually void the warranty and can create security risks. This also enables applications, including malicious ones, to bypass controls and access the data owned by other apps.
  4. Keep operating systems and apps up-to-date
    Manufacturers, telecommunications providers, and software providers regularly update their software to fix vulnerabilities. Make sure your device’s operating system and apps are regularly updated and running the most recent versions.
  5. Use a mobile security software solution
    Install antivirus software, if available.
  6. Block web ads and/or don’t click on them
    Malware can find it’s way onto your mobile device through a variety of methods, including advertisements. The malicious advertisements are called “malvertisements.” Mobile ads accompany a significant amount of content found in mobile applications. Whether you find them annoying or amusing, cyber criminals have turned their attention toward using them to spread malware to unsuspecting users. What makes these “malvertisements” so dangerous is the fact that they are often delivered through legitimate ad networks and may not appear outright spam, but can contain Trojans or lead to malicious websites when clicked on. Some mobile devices have software that can block harmful sites.
  7. Don’t click suspicious links and attachments
    While it may be difficult to spot some phishing attempts, it’s important to be cautious about all communications you receive, including those purported to be from “trusted entities”. Be careful when clicking on links or attachments contained within those messages.
  8. Disable unwanted services/calling
    Capabilities such as Bluetooth and NFC can provide ease and convenience in using your smartphone. They can also provide an easy way for a nearby, unauthorized user to gain access to your data. Turn these features off when they are not required.
  9. Don’t use public Wi-Fi
    Many smartphone users use free Wi-Fi hotspots to access data (and keep their phone plan costs down). Smartphones are susceptible to malware and hacking when leveraging unsecured public networks. To be safe, avoid logging into accounts, especially financial accounts, when using public wireless networks.

Fraud Alert: Heartbleed Bug

We are aware of the concerns surrounding the “Heartbleed Bug” (OpenSSL vulnerability).

Please be aware that our web site uses web servers, which are not affected by the Heartbleed Bug. Our technology personnel have been assessing all systems to determine if there are any other known vulnerabilities, and will continue to review those until we are confident we have covered all areas of concern.

If any vulnerabilities are identified, and action needs to be taken, we will notify customers immediately.

Fraud Alert: Government Grant Scam

Customers have reported receiving telephone calls regarding Government Grant Scams. As usual, we like to let you know when a specific type of scam is popular, so you can be better prepared to avoid these situations yourself.

The scammer will say something like,  “Because you pay your income taxes on time, you have been awarded a free $12,500 government grant! To get your grant, simply give us your checking account information, and we will direct-deposit the grant into your bank account!”

This is fraud, plain and simple. For more information on Goverment Grant Scams visit the FTC’s website at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0113-government-grant-scams#.UwT_r-ulg0k.email

Fraud Alert: Automated Telephone Calls

We’ve had several reports that customers are receiving automated telephone calls from a restricted number.  The call informs the customer that there has been fraud on their account, to continue press 4 (or another number). These are phishing calls designed to get customers to provide account information. Please do not provide account information if this happens. Contact your local branch with questions or concerns.

Fraudsters May Take Advantage of Target Data Breach

There have been daily news stories about the Target data breach and how it may affect shoppers. This is a great time for scammers to send out phony emails from Target pretending to help. What they are really trying to do is to trick you into giving them your personal information.

If you get an email that says it is from Target, look for the following to make sure you don’t get scammed.

  • If any email asks for your personal or financial information, it is most likely a scam.
  • If you receive an email that asks for your debit or credit card number, do not reply. No legitimate business will ask for your personal information through unsecure methods like email.
  • If there are links in the email, do not click on them.
  • Scammers create links and sites that look like the real deal. These phony sites can install viruses to your computer or direct you to spoof sites that exist to steal your information. Hovering over a link can reveal a deliberately misspelled web address, or a completely different destination. To be safe, you should typed the URL directly into your browser.
  • Be aware that scammers may send emails promising a free gift card, a new tablet or computer, or even a job in exchange for your personal information. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

Phone Scam Targets Customers

We want to make everyone aware that we have had a report of a gentleman named “Greg Stockholm” calling Central National Bank customers. He starts out the conversation asking if the customer has received a letter from Central National Bank regarding corporate security. He then tells the customer that he wants to have a conversation about his company’s security issues.

Be advised that this is a scam.

If you receive a call concerning this, please DO NOT give the criminal any information.

 

Beta Bot Malware Blocks Anti-Virus Programs

The FBI is aware of a new type of malware known as Beta Bot. Cyber criminals use Beta Bot to target financial institutions, e-commerce sites, online payment platforms, and social networking sites to steal sensitive data such as log-in credentials and financial information. Beta Bot blocks computer users’ access to security websites and disables anti-virus programs, leaving computers vulnerable to compromise.

Beta Bot infection vectors include an illegitimate but official looking Microsoft Windows message box named “User Account Control” that requests a user’s permission to allow the “Windows Command Processor” to modify the user’s computer settings. If the user complies with the request, the hackers are able to exfiltrate data from the computer. Beta Bot is also spread via USB thumb drives or online via Skype, where it redirects the user to compromised websites.

*Windows Command Process message box
Figure 1, Beta Bot “Windows Command Process” message box

Although Beta Box masquerades as the “User Account Control” message box, it is also able to perform modifications to a user’s computer. If the above pop-up message or a similar prompt appears on your computer and you did not request it or are not making modifications to your system’s configuration, do not authorize “Windows Command Processor” to make any changes.

Remediation strategies for Beta Bot infection include running a full system scan with up-to-date anti-virus software on the infected computer. If Beta Bot blocks access to security sites, download the latest anti-virus updates or a whole new anti-virus program onto an uninfected computer, save it to a USB drive and load and run it on the infected computer. It is advisable to subsequently re-format the USB drive to remove any traces of the malware.